What Religion is - Revisited. 12/6/21
If science is the empirical attempt to understand the universe, religion is the emotional and moral struggle to find a home in it. Religion is belief, partly sustained by an emotional hope and imagination. The hope and imagination are not things you can “test” or verify, they are just part of the human condition. Religious belief has a moral part, which aspires to a vision of a better life, and a metaphysical part, which asserts (by hope and faith) that there is a world beyond this one, and an ultimate meaning to our lives.
For as long as we don’t have all the facts, we will be “children of God,” or of religion – at least many of us. Orphaned to the fullest truth of the world, we look and long for that comforting hand that will guide us through and give hope to light up the darkness. Christianity provides this hope, so does Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism for many people. For atheists, perhaps the hope is just for health and good green Earth beneath one’s feet. All persons, I think, however, have a longing that hope and good are real, and more substantial than evil and despair.